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About TravelinGert

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

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    cooking, travel, sewing, reading
  1. TravelinGert

    American Duchess

    Curious how did you like your cruise on the American Duchess as we are entertaining possibly sailing on her?
  2. Interested in booking a Mississippi river cruise with a specific interest in seeing antebellum homes. Would be especially helpful if there were tours which were on the mild side as to how much walking is involved as one of our party is a bit less mobile. I'm not sure how to put a definition on the limits except to say a short stroll to the Alamo where we enjoyed about an hour and twenty minute tour before walking back to our hotel was fine but about her limit for the day. Have not previously done a river cruise but have done a number of ocean cruises. I have read somewhat about the inherent differences so we are going into this expecting things to be a bit different. Wondering if American Cruise Lines Lower Mississippi cruise would roughly fit the bill or should we look at other lines or other cruises?
  3. TravelinGert

    Seaside Ocho Rios port

    Yes, I realize this is not the MSC Seaside. That ship is in the exact position the Seaside was in when we docked at Ocho Rios back in February.
  4. TravelinGert

    Seaside Specialty Trio Package

    I know they have allowed cruisers with an allergy to shellfish to book the Asian restaurant twice. I don't know if anyone has booked the steakhouse twice, but I think you could just ask when booking your trio. Please let us know how it turns out.
  5. TravelinGert

    Questions Regarding MSC Seaside

    I've tried to fill in answers in BOLD below. Hope the information I had helps and you have a cruise as wonderful as ours aboard Seaside, Stephen. We had an excellent experience and found it very relaxing.
  6. TravelinGert

    Questions Regarding MSC Seaside

    Yeah the lack of clarity can be frustrating. They do seem to be trying very hard to improve upon that, however. For instance earlier cruisers on Seaside said they received no instruction how to activate their pre-purchased internet. When we boarded they had two screens over Guest Services which were cycling through various information including how to initially sign on and how to also turn off data when you didn't want to use it. Also although earlier cruisers said ability to use your drink plan or drink vouchers at Venchi for Gelato was dependent on the server by our cruise they had it built into the system. The servers just entered the information for the charge, then when they scanned your card or voucher it would show a $0.00 charge to the cabin. I think probably as time passes they'll get everything clarified similarly. We were very happy to only really have this one issue.
  7. TravelinGert

    Questions Regarding MSC Seaside

    No idea. I was told I was supposed to pay the fee as a Fantastica with Deluxe drink plan after 11 pm but as a courtesy they waived it once. However I understand enough Italian to know they first confirmed we had tipped our delivery person before saying they'd waive it. Which leads me to believe the delivery fee is at least partly given to the delivery person for going up after hours to make the delivery. But that's pure conjecture.
  8. Thank you all for the tips! Especially as to where we can lock up our luggage while we tour Venice. I am pretty certain if we don't have to bring any formal wear we can pack in a couple of carry ons pretty easily although we'll need to run a load of laundry before our stay is over. You make NCL sound very appealing, BirdTravels.
  9. TravelinGert

    Our Epic, Epic Cruise 2/10/2018

    We're looking at booking the Epic for a med cruise. Could you fill us in about the elevators? Thank you for the review.
  10. With a few cruises under our belts we're branching out. What will we love about Norwegian and the Epic verses RCI or MSC? Could you please share your favorite tips, tricks, and things to be aware of as first time sailors with Norwegian and on the Epic? Any important hints about Med cruises we should know? We're looking forward to seeing Pompeii, the tower in Pisa, and shopping Florence. We'll have a few days in Rome before and after the cruise for sight seeing there as well. We may even take the train up to Venice overnight after the cruise. Any recommendations or tips and tricks for those stops?
  11. TravelinGert

    Robot Bars

    So they got the robot bars working finally?
  12. TravelinGert

    A question for the "old school" cruisers

    My husband's first cruise was 25 ~ish years ago as an older teen. There was no teen club. Just a kid's club for those under 11 or 12. He wasn't sure which, but his sister was 13 and wasn't allowed in. It was a Disney cruise. There were no iFly's, rock climbing walls, water slides, kid's water parks, or flow riders on the ship as far as he remembers. His mother thinks there was a kiddie pool in an enclosed area he probably never noticed. They had mini golf on the top of the ship and due to winds it wasn't available for most of the cruise. Husband isn't into sports but his mother thought there was a half court basketball court up top which was also closed for much of the cruise. There was a video arcade which charged $0.25-$0.50 per game depending on the game. If you didn't get in there early or if your parents made you go eat lunch with them you were out of luck until someone else abandoned a machine. Husband would sneak into the Casino via a side door and play until he started winning. He said as long as he was loosing no one cared, but as soon as he won they would kick him out for being too young. :rolleyes: The price was just a little more for the four of them than we paid for the two of us for our transatlantic on the Quantum. Compare the share of the average US income at the time and you'll see they actually paid a much bigger share. The rooms were both standard Oceanview rooms for those ships. Our room on Quantum was slightly larger with better storage and had two twins pushed together which I think makes a King? Their room had a queen bed and two bunks. Naturally he and his sister fought over who got the top bunk. His mother wound up making them take turns. From what I can tell from talking to both my mother-in-law and my husband, there were a lot more crew initiated activities. She's got jewelry she made with my sister-in-law, picture frames they each made, and several other craft items. Evidently there were activities on the pool deck throughout the day up until dinner time. After dinner there were movies shown on a screen up there. Dinners were just 2 seatings. Everyone got assigned and the tables were all those round tables designed for 8 people. They called everyone to dinner with chimes over the speakers. There was a sort of buffet they set up one afternoon on the pool deck and one night they were grilling hamburgers up there before the movie. Husband says they opened up a slider by the pool and you could get cookies and ice cream there in the afternoons but only on sea days. None of them recall any specialty dining venues of the type we'd recognize today but my mother-in-law said there was a very expensive character breakfast offered on the sea days. Disney had their own little island even back then, and those who paid for an expensive character meal there were whisked off the ship on tenders which seemed to be manned by costumed characters. My husband recalls that cruise fondly mainly because he was allowed to roam the ship whenever they weren't in port. Much better than all the other family vacations where he was trapped in a station wagon with his family for days. I resisted booking our first cruise for several years because of their stories about their Disney cruise. It just sounded like an expensive way to be bored to me.
  13. My understanding is you must do something during your visit to Cuba which meets the legal requirements the US government has set down if you are a US citizen. Royal has a lot of US citizens going on their Cuban cruises and probably tailored the experience to that. The last I read they have not yet opened up tourism as being allowed. I am no expert on these things, but from what I read educational including culturally educational tours are allowed and reporters are allowed. All those I've known who wandered on their own signed a waiver with the cruise line stating they were going ashore as reporters which apparently some cruise lines have been allowing. All of those had travel blogs and were in Cuba gathering information and pictures for blog posts on Cuba. Other than that, you must book a tour and if I understood correctly it had to better be with a tour group recognized in the US as providing some sort of educational value. Usually just a cultural education tour. At least as of last summer the list of recognized tour groups offering this service was rather short. It is permitted to do some tourist things before returning to the ship or so many had claimed. I don't know if this is legally true so do your own due diligence on that. Someone above said things have changed but I don't know if they meant Royal is now allowing folks to make sure they fit the legal criteria themselves with outside tours and wandering, or if it meant regular tourism is now allowed.
  14. TravelinGert

    Questions Regarding MSC Seaside

    Update regarding room service charges: So I ended up having to talk with a crew member on the ship to figure out exactly what was going on. Depending what type of service you have purchased - Bella, Fantastica, Aurea, or Yacht Club - there is a different room service guide. If you are Bella the guide explains there is always a delivery charge. If you are Fantastica the guide explains the charge is only between certain times. This is not what it means when it says room service charges are waived during the day when you book. They said there is an asterisk when you book. There was no asterisk on our printed confirmation from when we first booked but of course that's the condensed version. I am not certain about Aurea but was told you can tell when you book. If there is an asterisk by the room service charge is raised it means only during regular hours. Yacht Club never pays any charges for room service. I thought I should clarify this since I know I was not the only one confused by how it appears. I know there were plenty of others who thought seeing room service delivery charges waived meant waived on our cruise. MSC would probably have a lot less folks visiting Guest Services about this if they just added during what hours they are waived.
  15. Whether a drink package is worth it is pretty subjective. Lots of people will say only worth it if you'll drink more $ worth per day than the package costs. Others say even if you aren't sure you'll drink that much, the ability to pay for everything in advance so there is no surprise bill at the end and being able to feel you can abandon any drink you buy you don't like without any real consequences is worth the expense. I've cruised with the all-inclusive anything goes package, with just the non-alcoholic drinks package, with no drink package, and with a soda only package. Just started looking what's going on now with Royal's drink packages and I see they are selling ten drink punch cards part way through some cruises now and still let you take two bottles of wine aboard when you embark so that's new to me. In my experience the expensive all inclusive package is not worth it for me on a cruise with most days spent at a port where I am looking forward to getting off the ship for a shore excursion. I'm probably not going to be drinking anything alcoholic other than wine with dinner on those days and even with the high cost per glass I'll get nowhere near spending as much as the plan costs. I would only buy that package again if the cruise had mostly sea days since I often enjoy a few cocktails by the pool on sea days. Even with the low cost of the only soda package - at the time I sailed with that one, it was just $6.95 per day - it wasn't worth it for me. After the cruise was done I realized there were days I never even drank any sodas. My spouse has been getting the sodas package every cruise and he definitely gets his money's worth every time because he loves sodas. I had the everything except alcohol package on a port intensive cruise and felt I got really good value for money. Every morning I would go grab an espresso to sip while waiting for my spouse to finish getting ready, have a fresh squeezed oj and a cappuccino with breakfast in the Windjammer, grab a bottle of water leaving the ship and another when I got back on board, take my wine to dinner in the MDR with me, and have a specialty coffee with my dessert in the Windjammer. I had a non-alcoholic frozen drink by the pool several days and bottled water by the bed in case I work up thirsty as well. The last night I was all out of wine so I bought a glass with dinner. Over all I felt both from a financial standpoint and an enjoyment standpoint this worked well for me. I don't yet know what Royal is doing now as regards to bringing your own wine. On my previous Royal cruises they only charged corkage if you took the bottle to the dining room with you. We didn't initially realize you could ask your room steward for wine glasses for your cabin. I have no shame. I chilled my wine in the ice bucket with ice provided by the room steward and poured myself a glass in one of the water glasses from the bathroom. Took that with me to the MDR and enjoyed my wine with dinner. Our waiter kindly let me know just ask the room steward for wine glasses. Yes we did give him a nice tip at the end of the cruise. :)He could have let me keep right on bringing my wine in a water glass each night just for laughs.